Tourism and hotel industry in Singapore - statistics & facts
Tourism is a major industry in Singapore, contributing to around four percent of its gross domestic product in 2019. That year also recorded the highest number of international visitor arrivals to Singapore. However, the COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to the year-on-year growth of visitor arrivals, with far-reaching consequences in the tourism sector and related industries. As more and more countries start lifting restrictions on global travel in 2022, Singapore's tourism industry is expected to rebound.
Singapore as a must-visit tourist destination
To compete and distinguish itself from the internationally-popular beach holiday destinations right at its doorstep, such as Thailand and Bali, Singapore has invested heavily in marketing itself as a must-visit city destination offering a variety of unique experiences and tourist attractions. In the last decade, several large-scale projects were completed that helped place Singapore on the tourism map, such as the Gardens by the Bay, which houses the world’ largest glass greenhouse, and the world’s second-largest aquarium, the S.E.A Aquarium in Resorts World Sentosa. Since 2019, Singapore added another superlative attraction to that list - the world's tallest indoor waterfall, located in Changi Airport.
Apart from the unique attractions, Singapore also offers a variety of international events for travelers with different interests, such as the Formula One Singapore Grand Prix, the world's only night race. In October 2022, Singapore will host the annual DOTA 2's The International annual championship for the first time. This tournament is among the highlights in the international e-Sports calendar.
Recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on tourism
The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on global tourism, and Singapore was not spared. Monthly visitor arrivals in 2020 plummeted by more than 90 percent, resulting in decreased tourism receipts and hotel room occupancy. To support local businesses impacted by this loss, the government pumped 320 million Singapore dollars to promote domestic tourism through the SingapoRediscovers campaign. Every citizen was entitled to 100 Singapore dollars worth of vouchers to be used in hotel bookings, attractions, and tours. Even so, this would hardly make up for the losses from international visitor spending. In 2019 alone, the number of international visitors to Singapore was more than five times that of its citizen population.
In April 2022, however, Singapore fully re-opened its borders to international visitors, having achieved a COVID-19 vaccination rate of 92 percent. While visitor numbers have shown growth since then, Singapore would still be feeling the impact of a lack of visitors from China, which was the leading source market for international arrivals to its shores. Even so, 2022 looks set to be the turning point for the tourism industry in Singapore since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Research expert covering Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia